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Performance Management
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It is critical that an agency give its employees expectations for successful performance. However, setting expectations is only the first step. The agency Human Resource (HR) section can guide the agency and supervisors in the important task of giving feedback to employees, so the employees know if they are meeting the expectations to the agency’s satisfaction.   

Giving Positive or Reinforcing Feedback
Employees like to know that they are performing the job accurately and that someone notices. When giving feedback, try the following:
  • Have a conversation with the employee about the expectation that was met. The purpose of the conversation is to acknowledge work performance and behavior that needs to continue.
  • Positive action or behavior that is being reinforced should be described specifically and timely. If the behavior can be seen or heard, it can be repeated: Rather than saying, “You’re doing a good job;” try, “You are doing a good job meeting the deadlines, catching miscalculations and acknowledging others.”
  • Describe how the employee’s behavior contributes positively to the work or workplace. For example, “Your calm reply reduced the chance of conflict.”
  • Tell the employee that the employee’s behavior and the resulting positive impact are appreciated.
While positive or reinforcing feedback is easy to give verbally, it is also helpful to put this type of feedback in writing. Meet with the employee when delivering written feedback. Review the elements of the document and express verbal appreciation for a job well done. A dated copy of the feedback should go into the supervisor’s working file to use later at performance appraisal time.

Giving Corrective or Redirectional Feedback
Most employees appreciate being told when they are not meeting expectations or are performing a task incorrectly. How this type of feedback is delivered will make a difference in how it is received. When delivering corrective or redirectional feedback, try the following:
  • Be positive and keep an open mind. Set employees up for success. Your goal should be to help the employee meet expectations in the future.
  • Be clear with the employee. The purpose of the conversation is to correct and redirect behavior or work performance that must be changed.
  • Describe the actions or communication being corrected or redirected. If the behavior can be observed and described, it can be altered. Rather than saying, “I heard you mouthing off to a co-worker,” try, “I heard you using profanity and you were using a loud voice.”
  • Describe how the employee’s behavior negatively affects the work or workplace. For example, “We have a commitment to positive communication in our agency. When I hear you tell your co-worker his idea is ridiculous, it seems time to remind you to speak respectfully.”
  • Ask the employee, “Was there something that prevented you from or caused you to ____?” Listen carefully to the response and the circumstances.
  • Clarify previously stated expectations and ask for their understanding of the expectation. 
  • Ask the employee, “Is there anything that will get in the way of you being able to accomplish the expectation(s)?” Listen closely to the employee’s responses. 
  • With the employee, brainstorm ways to meet the expectations. 
  • Let the employee know whom they should tell if they have trouble accomplishing the expectations.
  • Help eliminate barriers to performance. Sometimes the barrier, unknowingly, is the supervisor, the agency or HR.
Write a dated note in the supervisor’s working file about the basic content of the meeting.
Though difficult, giving feedback to address poor performance and noncompliance is necessary. A delay in giving this feedback risks the continuance of  poor performance.